Canada’s age of consent laws may come into question when a 55-year-old Vancouver man faces a BC Supreme Court judge without a jury on charges of sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching and sexual assault.
The charges came last year after alleged incidents in which police said the accused met a 15-year-old on the smartphone app Grindr.
The accused, who cannot be identified under a publication ban imposed by North Vancouver Provincial Court Judge Douglas Moss on May 2, was committed for trial after a preliminary hearing heard from one witness.
“I am satisfied there is enough evidence to commit you to trial,” Moss told the accused.
The youth also cannot be named and evidence from the preliminary hearing cannot be published under publication bans.
In an RCMP release at the time of the man’s April 14, 2010, arrest, police said the 15-year-old met the suspect through the geo-social networking application. The software is a social networking tool that targets gay and bisexual men utilizing a smartphone’s geo-positioning system. It connects the user to other men who are nearby, police said in the release.
The man is being represented by veteran Vancouver lawyer Richard Peck, while Crown Mike Mahoney is prosecuting the case.
The accused, clean-cut and clad in a suit, sat quietly during the preliminary, occasionally shaking his head.
The issue of age of consent has been a hot topic in recent years. In 2008, Stephen Harper’s Conservative government raised the age from 14 to 16, making it illegal to have sex with anyone more than five years older than you if you’re less than 16 years old.
A date for the trial has not yet been set. The next hearing is May 18.